Tuesday, February 19, 2008

No. 374: The Eagles

Band: The Eagles
Album: The Eagles
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Wow. Um. Well, someone likes the Eagles. They have sold a fucking lot of records.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: The Eagles are the antithesis of rock and roll. The band's combination of nonsense philosophy, crappy folk and even crappier rock and roll is boring, boring, boring.
Best song: Well, "Witchy Woman" sucks, but it was a small plot point toward the end of an excellent episode of my favorite TV show.
Worst song: Please. This album stinks.
Is it awesome?: Nope.

You know who likes the Eagles? Robert Christgau. You know who doesn't? Me.

I've heard Jack Johnson's (man, I forgot where I heard/read it) popularity explained by saying that he reminds people of the guy they bought weed from in high school. He's a nice dude, he's harmless, he doesn't hassle you, but there's really nothing to him. He's basically harmless.

This, of course, is why I hate him. "Harmless" isn't a compliment in rock and roll. Even now, progress needs to be achieved in music and bands like Isis are able to do that. In the absence of that, really good songwriting (not just harmless songwriting) is what buoys great artists.

The Eagles, some would argue, are great songwriters. I would not. I would say that, like Jack Johnson, they wrote songs using idiotic, stoner phrases ("Take it Easy" being one of the operative examples) and easy love archetypes ("Witchy Woman").

That the Eagles are celebrated in our culture makes me feel like Pat Buchanan or Bill Bennett, the people who hate America's cultural movement over the past century. I'm not sure I love an America where Don Henley and Glenn Frey are celebrated.

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